Asia's best battles stars of Qatar

Korean Sung Baek Park (Meitan Hompo - GDR)

Korean Sung Baek Park (Meitan Hompo - GDR) (Image credit: Gregor Brown)

By Gregor Brown in Doha, Qatar

Korean Sung Baek Park faces cycling's biggest sprinting stars for the first time this week in the Tour of Qatar. The rider known as 'Asia's best sprinter' hopes for a top 10 finish against Tour de France stage winners, like Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish.

"They are really big names and I am very lucky to have this chance. It is the first time I've gone up against riders of that calibre," said Park to Cyclingnews.

Park is the winner of the 2007 Tour of Korea. The 24-year-old will have the support of Continental (third division) Team Meitan Hompo-GDR, which includes 2008 Paris-Corrèze winner Miyataka Shimizu.

The Japanese team will have to battle with Columbia, Quick Step, Katusha and others to position Park for the sprint.

"I just want to try my best and go for a top ten. I don't know if it is possible, but I will try. I think it is very difficult because we are a Continental team and we are up against ProTour and Professional Continental teams."

Team Meitan Hompo finished with a time of 7:03 in the opening team trial on Sunday. Its time was 29 seconds back on the winner, Team Garmin-Slipstream.

Briton Bradley Wiggins leads the race. He will wear the golden jersey in Monday's stage two, 134 kilometres to Al Khor Corniche.

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